Technological World for April 14: Twitter hiring in Toronto, Optimus Prime for real, smart thermometers in Canadian schools, Canadian Game Awards winners

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, a real Transformer, smart thermometers helping with illness outbreaks in schools, and Canadian Game Awards winners. But first, Twitter is establishing an engineering hub in Toronto.

Twitter hiring for a new engineering hub in Toronto

In a round table with Canadian media last week, Twitter Canada revealed that the Toronto office is building out its cohort of software developers.

The new hub will support the company’s work in the “Discovery & Connection”, “Health”, and “Content” teams. Twitter Canada managing director Paul Burns said that Toronto was selected because of the “density and diversity” of talent in the area.

Available positions are already posted online.

Some of the work being done in Canada will impact, at least peripherally, some of the new Twitter features, including the live audio conversations that are Spaces and the Topics that you’re now seeing on your timeline which help people identify subjects and issues that are interesting to them.

Upcoming Twitter features that were announced at Twitter’s 2021 Analyst Day include Communities, which will enable people to create groups, and Super Follows, which will give Twitter users the opportunity to charge followers.

Another new program from Twitter aims to connect businesses advertising on Twitter with influencers and creatives. The initiative is called Twitter Arthouse.

This Optimus Prime is a real Autobot that transforms by itself

A new design from robotics manufacturer Robosen promises to bring Optimus Prime to life.

The auto-converting Autobot is 19-inches tall when bipedal, and with the help of 27 servo motors and 60 microchips, it transforms into the semi-truck form.

The limited collector edition is priced at $700 USD and appears to already be sold out, but I’m sure units will show up for resale online.

Disney executive teases fandom with what may be a real lightsabre

Last Thursday, as he was wrapping up an online press event showcasing the new Avengers Campus that is part of Disneyland, Josh D’Amaro, who runs Disney parks, reportedly took a replica lightsaber out of a box.

The internet is pointing out that the company filed a patent for a retractable internally-illuminated lightsaber back in 2018.

We’ll likely have to wait until May 4 to learn more and get video evidence.

Smart thermometers being trialed in Canadian schools to help with illness outbreaks

An initiative by Kinsa, a public health company, is distributing smart thermometers to Canadian families as a way of trying to track outbreaks of illness and control the spread of infection.

More than 100 elementary schools across Canada, in Alberta, B.C., and Ontario are part of the program.

The thermometer is used to take the temperature of kids who may be sick and links to a smartphone app, which prompts parents to identify any other symptoms of illness, and then provides advice on what families should do.

The thermometers can also be used whether a child is feeling ill or not, especially as often kids may have a fever with no other symptoms of being sick.

The information is also sent – anonymously – to the child’s school, so public health officials can see trends as they happen and make decisions to control outbreaks.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla wins big at Canadian Game Awards

The latest Assassin’s Creed game, with development led by Ubisoft’s studio in Montreal, picked up five awards on Friday, as the Canadian game development community came together to celebrate their own at the 2021 Canadian Game Awards.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla won for best narrative, best PC game, best console game, and game of the year, and actor Cecilie Stenspil won best performance for her turn as the female version of Eivor, the protagonist in the game.

Spiritfarer, created by indie studio Thunder Lotus Games (Montreal), won for best art direction, best soundtrack, and best indie game.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker, developed in Vancouver by Blackbird Interactive, picked up the award for best game design and was named by fans as their favourite of the year.

Montreal’s Motive Studios also won twice, for best audio design and best virtual reality or augmented reality game.

The Toronto shop for Certain Affinity, nabbed the award for studio of the year. Certain Affinity is an outsource developer known for work on franchises including Call of Duty and Halo.

The full list of winners includes categories for esports as well as personalities.

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